Voluntary interviews – Your rights and entitlements
Have you been asked to attend the police station for a voluntary interview? Then you should know that the police have information which suggests that you may have committed a criminal offence and they need to ask you questions about this.
Do I need representation?
You can attend the police station for interview without a solicitor but we very strongly advise against it. Having a solicitor really can make the difference between being charged, dealt by means other than prosecution or the case going no further.
The police said they would arrange a lawyer for me, can I choose my own lawyer?
Yes, you can, but you need to act quick. We can almost certainly assist you but we need to make contact with the interviewing officers quickly to make sure he or she does not contact the Duty Solicitor. Call us as soon as you can.
Do I have to pay for a solicitor to attend with me?
NO, it is free. As a volunteer, you are entitled to free independent legal advice. This allows you to have a solicitor present at your interview at no cost to yourself.
What does a voluntary interview mean?
It is important to know that, should you be asked by the police to attend for a voluntary interview, you are not under arrest. This means that once you attend you are free to leave the police station at any time. However, if you decided to leave, the police could formally arrest and detain you.
How can I find out why the police want to speak to me?
It is likely that if you don't have a solicitor prior to attending for the interview, then you won't find out what information the police have until you are in the interview itself which not at all ideal. Instructing a solicitor early will mean that a request can be made directly to the interviewing officers to provide as much information as possible before the interview which can be used to help you prepare for the interview.
What will happen after the interview?
The chances are that after the interview you will have to wait for a decision to be made by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. Having a solicitor with you during your interview will mean that the solicitor will remain with you during the review stage and he or she will liaise with the police on your behalf until a decision is made on the outcome.
Can I speak to someone at Wells Burcombe Solicitors about this process as I am worried?
Absolutely. In fact, you are welcome to call us and once one of our highly experienced solicitors can answer any questions which you may have concerning such an interview, and this will be entirely free of charge.
For more information or to discuss your case with a specialist defence lawyer, please contact us in London (West Drayton) on 01895 449288 or in Hertfordshire (St Albans) on 01727 840900 or by email via our contact page.